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Overview

On December 2nd, 2020, the economist Walter E. Williams passed away at the age of 84.

Williams worked his way out of grinding poverty in the Philadelphia housing projects to chair George Mason University’s economics department. Over his career he authored 10 books and more than 150 other publications, and become one of the most recognized commentators on our American public life of the last four decades. Williams spread his message of racial equality, the dignity of work, and the morality of capitalism through his syndicated newspaper column, PBS documentaries, and frequent radio and TV appearances.

Today, we feature a presentation that Dr. Williams gave in 1994 for the Institute’s Acton Lecture Series, discussing the legitimate role of government in a free society.

A quick heads up: as we mentioned, this audio is from 1994. Our production team has done a lot of work to clean it up, but in the beginning of the talk Dr. Williams’ audio is very faint. Rather than cut out the beginning of his remarks, we’ve left them in. If you want to skip ahead to where the audio becomes clearer, then you can jump to the 7:46 mark in the podcast.